China eases restrictions on movement, food supply in Hubei — Pakistani students

A staff member (R) of a supermarket wearing a face mask uses a thermometer to check a woman's temperature at the entrance to the shop in Beijing on March 12, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 12 March 2020

China eases restrictions on movement, food supply in Hubei — Pakistani students

  • Delivery services have resumed in Wuhan, epicenter of deadly coronavirus, students say
  • More than 1,000 are stranded in the Hubei province ever since the outbreak in January

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani students stranded in China’s Hubei province said on Wednesday that local authorities had started easing restrictions on movement and food supply after coronavirus infections in the province registered a sharp decrease in recent days.
“The local government has announced that people in some areas will be allowed to use cabs within the province under certain conditions,” Muhammad Shahab Shah, a student of engineering at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, told Arab News during a telephonic call on Wednesday.
He added that some delivery services had resumed their operations in the province, too, but it might take until the end of April for the lockdown to be completed lifted.
A total of 1,094 Pakistani students are stranded in the Hubei province, since the lockdown was enforced on January 23 to stem the spread of COVID19, according to the Foreign Office.
A majority are residing in Wuhan city – the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
As the number of coronavirus cases in China plummeted to 19 on Tuesday, down from several hundred in a day two weeks ago, President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan for the first time in the same day to express solidarity with medical workers, volunteers, and residents.
The Chinese president’s visit in the city of around 11 million people, which is still under strict quarantine, is viewed as an early sign that restriction on movement within Hubei province has started easing.
The new cases outside of China continue to rise quickly, with countries such as South Korea, Italy and Iran experiencing severe outbreaks.
The virus has infected more than 115,800 people in more than 100 countries and killed over 4,200, with a majority in mainland China. Pakistan has registered 20 confirmed cases of the virus since February 26, of which one has recovered.
Pakistani students have also lauded cooperation and facilities extended to them during the quarantine that included delivery of free meals, hand gloves, sanitizers and medical advice.
“We are thankful to the Chinese government for all their support in this critical time,” Muhammad Sadiq, a Pakistani student in Hubei province, told Arab News on Wednesday.
Some Pakistani students who are stuck in the province had earlier made impassioned appeals to the government for their evacuation, but are now satisfied with the efforts of the Chinese government to protect them against the deadly virus.
“We heaved a sigh of relief when we discovered that the number of deaths and new [coronavirus] cases were going down,” Tatheer Hussain, a student of medicine at Hubei University of Science and Technology, told Arab News. “But it is still too early to declare a victory [against the virus].”


Israel has become India’s ‘coach’ in how to oppress Kashmiris - Pakistani President

Updated 05 July 2020

Israel has become India’s ‘coach’ in how to oppress Kashmiris - Pakistani President

  • Alvi says India disenfranchising people of Kashmir by following in the footsteps of Israel and its occupation of the West Bank
  • Pakistan has long supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinain conflict

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Dr. Arif Alvi said in a television interview aired on Sunday that India was following in Israel’s footsteps in oppressing the people of Indian-administered Kashmir just as Israel had disenfranchised Palestinians. 

The Indian government in August revoked the constitutional autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, splitting it into two federal territories in a bid to integrate it fully with India.

Kashmir is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan. The two countries have gone to war twice over it, and both rule parts of it. India’s portion has been plagued by separatist violence since the late 1980s.

The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in a 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians and much of the world view settlements that Israel has built in captured territory as illegal, which Israel disputes.

“If we see Israel’s oppression against Palestinians, it [Israel] has become their [India’s] coach as far as Kashmir is concerned,” Alvi said in an interview to Pakistani channel Geo News.

“The way Israel is occupying the West Bank and in all these things… and in terms of the population, the way it is disenfranchising [Palestinians] … India made a law and started doing the same in Kashmir.”

Referring to recent viral photos from Kashmir of a three-year-old boy sitting on the corpse of his dead grandfather killed by Indian security forces, Alvi said: “It’s so painful … A three year old child, sitting on his grandfather’s stomach. These images are the kind that will shake the world.”

Last month, the Pakistani foreign office reiterated its official stance of supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as envisaged by the United Nations.

“Pakistan continues to support a just and lasting solution of the Palestinian issue, through dialogue and negotiations, that leads to the realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, including the right of self-determination,” the foreign office spokeswoman had said.